Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon

Contact Details

+64 3 479 7878
Professor and New Zealand Institute for Cancer Research Trust Chair in Cancer Pathology
Department of Pathology (Dunedin)
BSc(Hons)(Massey) PhD(Otago)
Research summary
Genetic, environmental and epigenetic (developmental) mechanisms in cancer
Contributor to the Genetics and BBiomedSci programmes (particularly postgraduate student supervision)
  • New Zealand Organisation for Rare Disorders Executive Committee member.
  • Director, New Zealand Institute for Rare Disease Research Limited.
  • Melanoma Network (MelNet; A melanoma network in NZ) Executive Committee member.
  • Health Research South Board member.
  • Steering Committee member, Genetics Otago, University of Otago.
  • Steering Committee member, Centre for Reproduction and Genomics, University of Otago.
  • Kidney in Health and Disease Research Network Executive Committee member, University of Otago.
  • Member of Maurice Wilkins Centre CoRE.
  • Member of the Centre for Translational Cancer Research, University of Otago.
  • Member National Melanoma Standards Working Group.
    • Principal Investigator (non-management) Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery (newly funded term, 2015-2018)
    • Member, F1000Prime
    • New Zealand Organisation for Rare Disorders Executive Committee
    • Director, New Zealand Institute for Rare Disease Research Limited
    • MelNet (A melanoma network in NZ) Executive Committee
    • Centre for Translational Cancer Research
    • Pathology Department Executive Committee
    • Pathology Department Research Committee
    • BRF Management Committee
    • Board member ANZNET Neuroendocrine Tumour Research Group
Clinical interest: Genetics and genomics in translational medicine


Presently, I specialise in molecular cancer research, with expertise in cancer genetics, human molecular genetics, and developmental genetics. My research background involves gene and chromosome mapping, epigenetic studies of gene regulation, and impacts on cell behaviour of gene expression. I head the Developmental Genetics and Pathology Laboratory in the Pathology Department, Dunedin School of Medicine, and am currently very interested in genetic, environmental, and epigenetic mechanisms of cancer in relation to developmental biology and cancer / overgrowth diseases.

My research for some years has been focused on PAX genes in development and cancer / overgrowth diseases, and I have also have a continuing focus on epigenetics / genomic imprinting research in childhood cancer. More recently I have been turning my attention to melanoma. I am a founding member of both MelNet, a network of melanoma professionals in NZ, and of NZORD, the NZ Organisation for Rare Diseases.

Current research interests are to:

  1. Identify genomic and epigenomic features characterising metastatic versus primary melanomas
  2. Investigate transcriptomic and signalling pathways cooperating with PAX genes in promoting tumourigenesis

Additional details

The Chair in Cancer Pathology was funded and established in 2006 in the Pathology Department at the University of Otago in partnership with the NZ Institute for Cancer Research Trust ("the NZICR Trust"). The NZICR Trust is also presently supporting a research fellow (Dr Aniruddha Chatterjee) in the Chair in Cancer Pathology's laboratory. Professor Eccles is the inuagural Professor to hold the Chair in Cancer Pathology (2006-present).


Li, L., Hossain, S. M., & Eccles, M. R. (2024). The role of the PAX genes in renal cell carcinoma. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 25(12), 6730. doi: 10.3390/ijms25126730 Journal - Research Other

Ravindran Menon, D., Hammerlindl, H., Gimenez, G., Zuegner, E., Magens, C., Eccles, M., … Schaider, H. (2024). O-GlcNAc transferase drives the proliferative state in adaptive drug tolerance. Cancer Research, 84(7, Suppl.), LB293. doi: 10.1158/1538-7445.AM2024-LB293 Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Banerjee, R., Ajithkumar, P., Keestra, N., Smith, J., Gimenez, G., Rodger, E. J., Eccles, M. R., Antony, J., Weeks, R. J., & Chatterjee, A. (2024). Targeted DNA methylation editing using an all-in-one system establishes paradoxical activation of EBF3. Cancers, 16, 898. doi: 10.3390/cancers16050898 Journal - Research Article

Powell, R. M., Moravec, J. C., Jones, G. T., Bhat, B., Lin, S. M., Planer, J. D., … Pattison, S., Morison, I. M., … Eccles, M. R., & Macaulay, E. C. (2024). DNA methylation profiling of heterogeneous sporadic LAM and matched lung tissue. American Journal of Respiratory Cell & Molecular Biology, 70(1), 81-84. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2023-0300LE Journal - Research Other

Ajithkumar, P., Gimenez, G., Stockwell, P. A., Almomani, S., Bowden, S. A., Leichter, A. L., … Pattison, S., … Frizelle, F. A., Eccles, M. R., Purcell, R. V., Rodger, E. J., & Chatterjee, A. (2024). DNA methylome and transcriptome maps of primary colorectal cancer and matched liver metastasis. Data, 9(1), 8. doi: 10.3390/data9010008 Journal - Research Article

Back to top